Students and Teachers Struggle with Online Learning in Thailand
Every day students gather and hang out together at a WiFi hot spot several kilometers from their village. With smartphones in their hands, it may appear they are hunting Pokemon’s on Pokemon-go. They are not. The kids are here for their online classes.
This group of children is from Kanchanaburi, no more than 3 hours from Bangkok by car. They have no internet WiFi reception in their village and have to ride a motorbike to WiFi spots where their smartphones can get a signal.
The local community leader admitted that internet reception is a problem and that he is concerned for the children.
Meanwhile, a teacher from a state school in Nakhon Pathom province, submitted a letter to the House education committee has submitted a petition signed by 4,855 people including teachers and parents asking the Ministry of Education to provide electronic devices such as computers, tablets and access to the internet for teachers and students.
The teachers are also asking the Education Ministry to provide monetary assistance for teachers who have spent their own cash to appraise their students’ work.
As a result, the House has summoned Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong to clarify how her ministry can place itself in a position that will best allow teachers and students to cope with online education as the pandemic continues.
Education Ministries solutions are far from enough
In the past 18 months, the ministry has launched several measures including long-distance learning TV channels for students in remote areas and a recently launched website as a platform for online classes.
Yet, these solutions are far from enough and even the petition’s requests reflect only a few of the problems experienced by teachers and students since face-to-face classes were replaced with online methods.
It’s the poorer families who typically suffer more as parents must somehow provide computers and tablets for their kids, and that is if they’re able to find the money to do so.
For Thailand the lack of computer access or a getting WiFi signals is just the tip of the iceberg of issues. The impact from Covid-19 on the children’s education is far and wide.
According to a survey by the Equitable Education Fund released in May, it’s estimated that 65,000 students from poor families will drop out from the education system this year.